Case Brief: Smt. Kewal Pati vs State of Uttar Pradesh

Brief Details:

  • Relevant Citation: 1995 (3) SCR 207
  • Decided on: 6th April, 1995
  • Court: Supreme Court of India
  • Judge Bench: R.M. Sahai and S.B. Majumdar

Facts of the Case:

Ramjit Upadhyaya (the deceased) was given life imprisonment in Varanasi Central Jail. He was accused under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code[1], 1860. Happu (the accused) was another prisoner who was also convicted for same murder as Ramjit. They both were in the same prison. Ramjit was given the post of Nambardar, and he had to maintain discipline among the prisoners in the jail. But Happu was not happy with the Ramjit’s actions and therefore tried to assassinate him, in which he got success. A case against Happu was registered under Section 303[2] of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Ramjit (the deceased), had a wife and three children and all of them were reliant on him. The wife of the deceased filed a writ petition against the Government of Uttar Pradesh to seek compensation on legal and humanitarian grounds.

Issue Raised:

  1. Whether as an inmate, Ramjit Upadhyaya (the deceased) had the right to life?
  2. Whether this right to life was unfairly stripped from Ramjit and whether his wife was entitled to compensation?


The Supreme Court observed that every person, whether a prisoner or not, is guaranteed with the fundamental right of “Right to Life” under Article 21[3]of the Indian Constitution. This right was also available to Ramjit Upadhyaya. It was due to lack of action by the respondent authorities that his life could not be saved and right to life was infringed. The Supreme Court held that the Government of Uttar Pradesh must compensate the petitioner for the loss suffered. It was directed that the State of Uttar Pradesh should deposit Rs. 1,00,000/- within three days from the date of judgement. They should deposit the amount with the Registrar of the Court.

From this sum Rs. 50,000/- would be kept as fixed deposit in any national bank. The interest of the fixed deposit would be given to the petitioner and her 3 children. Once the children turn major, the amount of fixed deposit will be paid to the petitioner. In case, the petitioner dies, then the amount will be distributed equally among the children who survive. The rest Rs. 50,000/- will be directly paid to the petitioner after identifying her identity with a surety. 

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[2] (Last Visited on 10th August, 2021 at 1:15 PM)

[3] (Last Visited on 10th August, 2021 at 1:35 PM)

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